What happened when Fall Out Boy headlined Download 2024

Pop-punk classics! Pyro! Pete Wentz floating through the air with balloons! Fall Out Boy conquer Download with spectacularly thought-out journey down memory lane…

What happened when Fall Out Boy headlined Download 2024
Emily Carter
Bethan Miller

Fall Out Boy are a weird band. They always have been. Crucially, though, they’ve also always worn that like a badge of honour – and rightfully so.

Case in point: how they decide open up their headline debut tonight. Rather than trying to go a ‘heavier’ route to please the Download metalhead masses, come 9pm the stage screens flash up to show Patrick Stump, um, dressed in a hospital gown. Oh yeah, and he’s also wearing a 2003-esque peaked beanie, singing the opening to Disloyal Order Of Water Buffaloes.

It’s not necessarily the Metallica-inspired opening we were expecting…

The frontman (sans patient attire now) and his bandmates – Pete Wentz, Joe Trohman and Andy Hurley – then proceed to take to the Download stage to enormous excitement from the packed-out crowd, hurtling straight into Take This To Your Grave favourites Chicago Is So Two Years Ago and Grand Theft Autumn / Where Is Your Boy. To some here, it might not be immediately obvious what tonight will be, but as Fall Out Boy waste no time blowing minds early on with Sugar, We’re Goin Down and Dance, Dance, it quickly becomes clear that the band have planned out the ultimate celebration of everything they’ve done to get to this point.

Brilliantly, it’s mostly done in chronological order, too. With Taylor Swift currently up the road in Liverpool this is essentially Fall Out Boy’s own take on The Eras Tour, complete with outfit changes reflecting every chapter (Nice sweater vest, Pete! Nice fedora, Patrick!) and delightfully considered touches for the hardcore contingent to appreciate.

“We were nervous coming back to headline,” admits Pete several songs in, beneath a giant flying sheep signifying the Infinity On High segment of the show, “but 80-fucking-thousand of you guys made us feel a little fucking better…”

It’s a sentiment that’s reciprocated, too, with arena-wide sing-alongs to Thnks Fr Th Mmrs, I Don’t Care and The Phoenix. While Pete acknowledges he “packed wrong for this trip”, thinking it was summertime (a rookie mistake, sir, you’re in England) Fall Out Boy keep fans warm with a shit-ton of pyro during My Songs Know What You Did In The Dark, not to mention Pete’s flaming bass guitar for good measure. And we’re still barely even halfway through the set…

Somehow, things only gets more entertaining after that. From American Beauty / American Pyscho-themed cheerleaders dancing their way through Uma Thurman to the hilariously low-key production to Immortals – literally just a YouTube comment behind the band reading “Wow a one-word song title from Fall Out Boy” with millions of likes racing upwards – FOB’s personality shines through every carefully-curated moment.

And they let fans have their say, too. As well as the return of the popular Magic-8 Ball, they pause briefly to help do a gender reveal for a couple near the front (“It will be a Fall Out Boy or a Fall Out Girl!”), before encouraging everyone to get their phone lights out for Fake Out.

Following a monumental Centuries comes customary set-closer Saturday – but with the best twist of all. Instead of his usual excursion from the stage into the crowd, the wonderful weirdness reaches its peak as Pete floats high up into the air holding a big batch of balloons, before letting them go and drifting back down again to join the fans. Plus, there’s streamers. And confetti. And fireworks. It’s all just so much bloody fun.

“To be here is so fucking special,” Pete says at one point. “But beyond that, if you’ve got a dream like that – if you make art like that – keep making that fucking art. You’ll end up here maybe.”

Fall Out Boy are absolutely a testament to that, and tonight Download is all the better for it. Keep staying weird, guys.

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